We need a redemptive revelation for every day. God has drawn us to Himself. We belong to Him. He loves with His everlasting love. Do we forget this? Yes, we do, just as Israel forgot how God opened and closed the Red Sea. The normal details of life can distract us from our vision of of who He is. Let us think of the Cross and have our vision sharpened and focused. (2 Peter 1:3-8; Proverbs 29:18)
Speaker(s): Pastor Bob Colban, Pastor Steven Scibelli
11:00 AM on 1/5/2020
P. Scibelli –
John. 21:1-7, Please excuse my voice. It won’t be long. Could you put the slides up? We have some slides that I
didn’t have prepared for New Year’s Eve. Is that it? We have a vision in 2020 not only for
individuals here in Baltimore that we would love to see people get saved, people grow, people
be loved, people be given an understanding of their purpose. This is a great ministry to our local
assembly, to it and through it to this city. That’s an exciting vision to have.
This is also something we have going on. It’s a little different than what I have in front of me. We are
praying about going from Baltimore to a church in Philadelphia, from Finland to Latvia, from
France to Spain, Cambodia to Vietnam. These are all places we have churches. India to Shri
Lanka, Burkina Faso to Senegal, South Africa to Lesotho, Uganda to Burundi, Zambia to
Botswana, Peru and Ecuador to Columbia, Chile to Bolivia, and Argentina to Paraguay. Please
keep these in prayer.
These are not pie in the sky visions. These are where we have churches and they have already made inroads to begin with. A great opportunity to have a vision for 2020 as a ministry. Then a vision for the city of Baltimore, our state of Maryland, and for the United States of America. Amen. This is great. All this requires is us being drawn to God. Are you with me? There are two options in my Christian life. I’m either drawn to God or I’m
seduced or drawn away from God. This is what happens. I realize when I am not drawn to God
personally, I catch zero.
In John 21 they caught nothing. I was looking through some 1980 little magazines from our church in the Pioneer Valley, and my wife said to me do you realize how many people are home with the Lord, how many people have gone away, and how many people are still here? We were going through the pictures and it was amazing seeing these different people. So it’s very important that I understand that God wants to draw me. Me.
Regardless of where I am at. God is in the spiritual business of drawing us to himself.
Sometimes we get a little strange about our failures or inadequacies or our past. I love Luke
15:1-2, it said that sinners drew near to hear. The word used for “sinners” is a very interesting
word that is used here. It means habitual, heinous, evil sinners. Not just your average, everyday
lotto player. I’m just joking! Not just your average, everyday person that does something that’s
really not outwardly evil, but it just isn’t right.
He was drawing habitual, heinous sinners. It’s a very unique word in the Bible. They drew near to hear. Why did they draw near to hear? They understood something about God’s love. They understood something about God’s mercy. They understood something about being accepted in the beloved. They understood they could make
an approach to God. By the way, I ran away from God for years because I thought God is holy
and look at me. I can’t even go to church.
That went on for decades until I understood that God draws near to us. This is what is experienced. Jesus would draw people to himself. Isn’t that what Matthew. 11:28-30 says. Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me and you’ll find rest for your soul. My yoke is
easy, and my burden is what? Light. He was drawing people. A leper could touch him. I
remember one time I was in India; I was at a stop light. I took a look to my right and at the
window was a leper. It almost scared the daylights out of me.
I thought, wow! Jesus in Luke 17 touched a leper. He put his hand on a leper knowing what the possibilities were. Of course he’s God. Jesus would say to blind Bartimaeus come down. Zacchaeus come down from the tree. I’m going to eat with you at your house today. Today salvation has come to your house. He would
go after two men who were backslidden on their way to Emmaus when they should have been
staying in Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.
Jesus went after them. Amen. He went after them. It’s incredible. This is the heart of God. God going after people and drawing us. We can be in situations that are so dark and bleak. God can use any situation in my
life and your life to do what? To draw us to himself. He drew people to his personal life. When
you saw his life on a daily basis, Nicodemus, a religious man. He drew a woman at a well who
was on her fifth husband. He drew a man who had an infirmity in John 5.
In John 8, he was praying for and saw a woman get delivered who was caught in the act of adultery. God is
drawing people. This is the message of the gospel. Not pushing them away. So many times I
have heard messages, especially in Africa, where people are pushed away. I can’t come near to
God. That’s what I thought for decades. I can’t get near to God. But God is in the business of
drawing us. I realize in my life that without God drawing me and going my own way I catch zero.
Nothing is taking place and that’s incredible.
I’m drawn to the cross and the work God has done at the cross. Think who was at the cross, Mary Magdalene out of whom came seven devils. A thief nailed there is drawn to Jesus Christ. His mother drawn there. The mother of James and John who lost her two sons to the gospel. She is drawn there. Mary his mother. Drawn there. A
centurion, truly this is the Son of God, drawn to the cross. It’s incredible. Simon the Syrian
drawn by God to the cross. This is what the church is for.
The body of Christ is supposed to do what? Draw people. That’s why Barnabas went and got Saul. He brought him to Antioch. Saul, who became Paul, was a murderer of Christians. What was God doing? he was using Barnabas
to bring him. He was drawing Saul of Tarsus to the Body, to the church. Being drawn. Look at
the Book of Acts where people are drawn to the church. A church is supposed to be out in the
community doing what? Drawing people, not living in some enclosed circle never venturing out
across the street or around the world.
But the church is there to draw people. I understood this. I remember in 1976, 1977, I was born again, and I was at the eastern states exposition fair grounds. I met a man named Pastor Tom Stewart. He gave me a gospel tract. God said to me, this is the church. Because I was soul winning by myself. I had nobody. I had no church. I had no
where to go. I wasn’t growing. I had a heart and a desire to know God and to grow but it wasn’t
happening because there was no church. Then I met P. Tom Stewart. I got drawn to the ministry
at the Marriot Hotel of all places.
God drew me. P. Mike Williams was there at the first service. I don’t think he’s here now. He was the first person I met in the ministry at the Marriot Hotel. He was an usher. I thought what is going on here? Nobody has a sport coat on. I thought that was a little bit unusual. I didn’t understand church. God uses the church to draw people. God draws us to our relationship with who he is. I want to be drawn to the new person God has made me
to be. Isn’t it amazing how the old sin nature can try and draw you away?
Live in the effects of sin. Live in the effects of the past, the old sin nature. If any man be in Christ he’s what? A new
creation. Old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new. Say it. I’m a new
person. I’m a new person in Christ. Take that Satan. Satan is trying to draw me to the old sin
nature. He doesn’t come out and do a frontal attack where I can see him. He uses the world to
draw my old sin nature, so I won’t walk with God. He even tried it with Jesus in Luke 4.
God is drawing us, continually drawing us every single day. That’s what communion is all about. It talks
about fellowship, God drawing us. No matter who they are or what is going on or where they
have been he is drawing us. This is why we have a gospel. What is the gospel? Bad news? What
kind of news? Good news. It draws people. The gospel draws people. The message of God loves
you. God is merciful. God is making you a new person.
God is giving you an eternal purpose. God has given you heaven. What should a Christian school do? Draw people. What should a Bible school do? Draw people. What should Grace Hour on the, is it the internet? Radio,
internet, whatever. It’s supposed to do what? Draw people. What am I supposed to be doing in
my neighborhood. I don’t have to. I’m not talking about any kind of legalism. God can use me
through prayer and ministering to people and loving people.
He can draw them. He can draw them to himself, to what he has done for them, to something eternal. 2020 is about God. He’s quick on the draw. Drawing us to himself. Hosea 11:4 says he drew me with the cords of a man
and bands of love. Jeremiah 31:1-4 he drew them with lovingkindness which is better than life. Isn’t it
amazing God loves me all the time, every day. He daily ministers to me to love me. You say I’m
not very loveable. I don’t even like myself.
God loves you even when you don’t like yourself. He’s doing what? Drawing us. This is what we are here for to draw people. I call it spiritual magnetics. Drawing people. That’s amazing. As the ushers prepare for communion, let’s ask
God in communion to draw us to himself, to draw us.
P. Bob Colban – You clap now! Wait until you hear what I have to say! I think God did this for my daughter. She knew I was speaking at 9 and she said I don’t know if I want to get up that early. I’d love to hear you, dad. Maybe on the internet. God said, dad’s going to speak at 11 just for my daughter. There you go, Beck.
At the 9 we spoke on this a topic that P. Schaller gave P. Eugene and I. He did a great introduction on the topic. The title was having a personal vision for everyday life. Having a personal vision for everyday life. The best way for me to illustrate, the way in my study I approach this topic, is to tell a story about a time in 2017 – I should say this
first. My wife’s family, her grandfather, is from Italy. He was born there in a little village up in the Italian Alps.
A young man 17 or 18 because economically there was a severe – Chris asked him one time why did you come to America and he said for a loaf of bread I think is what he said. That’s how difficult. So anyway, he came to America and moved to Lee, Massachusetts and while he was alive and even while Chris’ parents were alive, there was a lot of back and forth to Italy to see where grandpa came from. They would come here and then there was a
long lull because he passed away. Chris’ parents passed away.
While we were in living in France for five months we were relatively close to the village. Chris said I’d love to go see the village and visit my cousins. She has a lot of family there. Matter of fact, she is related to the majority
of the town. Her maiden name is “Salinetti” so that’s the northern Italian connection. Eight of
us went up there for the weekend. So what’s the point of the story? It’s a village in the Italian
Alps and there is this beautiful valley and a mountain and a mountain, and the village is like a
third of the way up the side of the mountain.
Honestly we got out of the car and we were in awe of this view. We got out of the car at their house and we’re looking and there is the valley and you can see all these little towns and there’s the river running down the middle of the valley, the highway and then up on the other side. I mean it was something that I have never
seen in my life. Just majestic, just awe inspiring.
And to be honest with you, we were there for two days and every time I would step out of the house or Chris and I would step out of the house, we would stop dead in our tracks. Like wow! I’ve never seen anything like this. I said this morning, living in Perry Hall, when we step out of our house we see something very different.
You know, nothing wrong, just different. This was like amazing to me, and even when we
walked past the windows of the house and we look out and get a glimpse of this incredible
view, we’d stop in our tracks.
For two days we were just like little kids just gawking at this. So this is the point: Chris’ I think maybe second cousin but the generation of my children, one of the young men, he was like 30 years old, Erasmo, and so one day he spoke perfect English. I said to him, I said like, we are in awe of where you live, this view. I said, do you come out of
your house every morning and just stop dead like us and stare at this in awe and the majesty of
it all. He was like and I didn’t know what, and he said, actually not. I’m like, wait a second. Look
around you. Do you see this any direction you look? He was like, yeah. It’s no big deal.
I said it’s no big deal? I can’t take my eyes off of it. He was like, yeah, you know, we live life up here,
everyday life. And everyday life is I get up and go out to my car and go to work. I drive to the
next village or whatever and it’s life. Actually it’s there but we really don’t pay attention to it. It
was very enlightening to me how you could be in that type of situation and not be affected by it
kind of on a daily basis like we were, so I was thinking about that in relation to this theme of
having a personal vision for everyday life.
Because everyday life, and I want to keep going back to that term, everyday life can be an enemy to our Christianity. What do I mean by that? Think back to your salvation whether it was maybe if you’re newly saved it’s a few months, maybe it’s a few years, maybe it’s 10, 20, 30, 40 years, whatever it might me. In my case and my wife it
was 42 years ago that we received Christ. I remember those days. We were 25 years old, newly
married. We got married and we weren’t Christians, but we got introduced to the gospel and
although at the first few, maybe first few months like when I got saved, and somebody, the
fellow that lead me to Christ was so excited and kind of patting me on the back.
Kevin Peterson, some of you know Kevin and he led me to Christ at his kitchen table. He was so excited, and I
was just kind of sitting there like why is this guy so excited, like what’s the big deal really. I had
no clue what had just happened to me, but he knew what had just happened to me. Because I
was just a, I was an unbeliever one moment and now I’m a believer with all the benefits of all
that Christ has for me in a moment of time but what do I know?
But as you start to grow in your faith and hopefully you’ll have these kind of similar memories, all of a sudden you start to hear. You start to hear from the Bible. You hear a message. You read something. God speaks to you
and all of a sudden this newfound faith just comes alive in you. It’s kind of like you are in awe of
God. This majesty of the Lord. Like God this is incredible. Your life starts to change. Your habits
start to change. You’re gloriously saved.
And all of a sudden the glory of that salvation starts to take over. Your priorities change. What you do on a daily basis change. You’re going to a Bible study instead of going somewhere else. You’re going to church on Sunday mornings instead of sleeping in or doing something else. You love to be around the Body of Christ. There’s something unique and different about these people that just energizes your soul. You take out
and you get your first Bible. My first Bible was a little purple New Testament. I used to open it
up. Never read the Bible in my life for 25 years.
I opened it up and it was like, wow! That’s in there! I didn’t know that was in there. Wow! This is incredible. The book is alive. Go to a Bible study. Pastor Moore, Pastor Handel speak. Like the word is just alive, like, you know that feeling of how does he know? How do they know what’s going on in my life? You know who told them
about me? Do you remember that feeling? Do all of you remember that or was it just me? That
whole, you know, this glorious salvation where you are just like God, could this really be true?
Can this really be true?
This is like too good to be true. But it’s all true and your life is just, and you are just living in this. New life, new friends, new perspective, new purpose, new priorities, new potential. The Bible is alive. Messages are alive. Prayers are alive. You’re embracing the narrow way of Mt. 7. This is your life. It’s awesome. That’s the way our Christian life should always be, right? This is the way we should live. But you know what happens? Everyday life.
Every day life comes in. Details of life come in. You know problems come into your life.
Situations that you have no control over. Financial difficulties. Work problems. Relationship
problems. A million things. And even the good things of life. Even when things are going well,
sometimes that’s more dangerous because we can get so kind of like you hate to almost say it
we are not drawn to God because of our need. We are just existing in our own initiatives.
Dangerous place to be. How does this happen?
How does everyday life kind of draw us away from the glory and the majesty of those early days of our salvation. It happens easy. A great example in the Bible is in Exodus when you think of the children of Israel. The children of Israel had prayed for generations for a deliverer. Generations prayed for a Messiah, for a deliverer to
be delivered from the bondage of the Egyptians and for their Messiah to come. It’s interesting
because God sends Moses as a deliverer. Egypt, the strongest nation in the world at that point
and God brings them out and does what they ask gloriously through what?
An angel of death. Seeing this death and destruction, ten plagues, and all of these things. When they leave, the
Egyptians give them jewelry and everything. And all of a a sudden it’s like wow! This is
incredible God. You have done what we have prayed for 400 years or whatever the number is.
This is incredible. But all of a sudden they’re at the Red – they’re backs are against the Red Sea.
Here comes the Egyptian army. Moses, did you lead us out here to kill us? Were there not
enough graves for us in Egypt that you brought us out here to die?
This is their indictment. Wait a second. What happened to all of this. But then God delivers them at the Red Sea and destroys the Egyptian, but you know what? Two or three days, two or three weeks later, we got no
water. Moses, did you bring us out here to kill us? We have not food. Moses, like, what
happened to the God of the Red Sea, the angel of death, all the plagues, all that God did. Now
all of a sudden everyday life has entered into what they saw.
They had this and then everyday life comes in and robs them. Now it’s like we need food. We need water. God just brought us out here to kill us. It happened to them. It happened to them so quickly. Four months after the
Red Sea, Moses goes up to the mount to be with God and receive the Ten Commandments,
receive something from God for the people. He’s gone 40 days. You know what the people say.
As for this Moses, we don’t know what happened to this guy. 40 days. Four months after the
Red Sea. Every day there is manna, food from heaven waiting for them. What more can God
show them? But they say, as for this Moses we know not what has become of him. Let us make
gods, let us make gods. What about God? and return back to Egypt. They made golden calves. I
mean, four months after the Red Sea. What changed? Everyday life. Everyday life.
Details of life can try and strip us away from the majesty and glory of who God is and what God has done for
us. It can happen to any of us. Peter’s great statement – Jesus said this is what I must do, and
you will all depart from me. Not I! It’s Peter. Not I, Lord. I will die for you. I will go to the very
end. I don’t know about any of these guys, but this is what I will do for you. And we all know the
story of Peter.
Within a day, he even denies that he even knows God. It can happen to any of
us. It’s a danger for us in our Christian life. We start out here in this amazing relationship with
God where God is speaking, and we are receiving, and we are growing and then we can just get
slowly drift over to here. Not dramatically just a slow drift. Where our life has kind of been
removed from who God is and now we are just operating day to day, no vision, no purpose, and
it happens to all of us.
It happened to Peter who actually saw Jesus transfigured on the cross. It happened to the children of Israel who saw miracles unlike I or most of us have ever seen. Can it happen to us? Of course it can. Has it happened to us? Of course it has at times. So how do we how do we, how do we? There was a second part of that statement. I don’t now where it is. This is what I want to say. This is really the part that I think can encourage us in our walk with
God. At first, it sounds like the opposite but Proverbs 18 where there is no vision, the people
perish. You might say that’s discouraging.
Why would you bring that verse up? I have never liked this verse, honestly. It used to condemn me because I was like, there is no vision. I don’t have a vision. I’ve never had a vision. Not like Peter or Cornelius or like you read about in the book of Acts. Or you read about it in the Old Testament with Abraham where they actually see
something, and God directs them. Or Paul, the Macedonian man come over. You know, that’s a
vision. That’s the way I always looked at a vision. And I said, gosh, God.
I’ve never had a vision. Does that mean I’m going to perish? That’s the way I looked at that verse. It always condemned me. I was like, this is crazy. Having a personal vision for everyday life. What does that mean? I
don’t have a personal vision for 1:00. I’m just trying to get from 12:07 to 12:20 and finish the
message. That’s my vision right now. 2020? I don’t have a clue. I don’t know. Really. I
remember being in Bible school and there was always a couple of people like I’m going to Bible
school for three years and then I’m going here and then I’m going here.
I’m going to spend four years here and then five years here. I’m going to do this. I’m going to go back here. I’m going to do this. I’m going to marry. I was like, how do you know that? I have a vision from God. I was
like, I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow, you know? You got your whole life mapped out by
God and I don’t even have 24 hours. It’s intimidating, isn’t it? It can be intimidating. And
without a vision, oh, that’s me! People perish.
That’s me. I’m going to perish. That word “perish” most of the time in the Bible means to be utterly destroyed. So I’m like, okay, I have no vision and my destiny is utter destruction, whatever that means. But this verse is different.
These words are different. Oswald Chambers says this, without a vision – and it says it in the Revised Standard Version I believe – without a vision, the people cast off restraint. It’s different.
It’s not the word for “utterly destroyed.” But it talks about to let loose, to ignore, to show lack
of restraint, to loosen restraint, to dismiss.
Meaning this: without a vision, we will begin to cast off restraint. What does that mean? The things that God has done in our life, how he has prioritized our life, how he has brought in a prayer life and these different things that sustained us, that started back here with our glorious salvation and has sustained us, but without a vision,
we start to cast off – they’re not as important to us because we’ve lost something. We’ve lost
something. So why should I restrain myself? What does that mean?
Well, maybe to be here on a Sunday morning. It takes restraint, meaning there are other things that you don’t do to come here. You restrain yourself because this is a priority. Prayer is a priority. Soul winning is a
priority. Maybe Bible school is a calling and a priority. Why go to Bible school? I don’t know.
Why am I even here? This is what can happen. Without a vision, we can cast off restraint,
loosen our restraints. Say the narrow way, I’m not interested in that anymore. I’m interested in
the broad way. Not Broadway but wide way is better.
Ever been in this place? It happens to us because there is no vision. What does it mean having a vision? That word also does not mean the visible vision in this particular case. Matter of fact, Scofield, I just happen to have it open,
the Hebrew word rendered “vision” is not the ordinary word for something seen. Rather it
indicates a revelation from God. Wait a second. I’ve had revelations from God. The Amplified
Bible says, – excuse me. To find it. Without a redemptive revelation of God, we cast off
Does that change that verse a little for you? It did for me. Not a vision but a redemptive revelation from God. If I don’t have that, I will cast off restraint. These things won’t be important. They won’t be priorities for me. I will drift away from them. But with, say the verse the other way, with a redemptive revelation from God as my motivation from God then I will restrain myself. I will be constrained by the love of God. I will be motivated by the things of
God. I will prioritize my life according to the things of God.
What is a redemptive revelation? The word “redemption” to release of receipt of ransom, payment of a price to ransom. That’s what redemption is. We’ve been redeemed by the blood of Christ. We just celebrated it. We
just reflected on it. When I have a vision of the cross personally of what was done for me on
that cross, that can sustain me for all eternally. Something was done on the cross for me that
no one else can do. There is none like you we sang. There is nobody that can go on that cross
and do what Christ has done for me, personally what he has done for me.
That’s a redemptive revelation. I look at that cross and I say every stripe was for me. Every thorn in his skull was for
me. Every cruel word that was spoken, every time he was slapped, every hair that was pulled
out. He was stripped naked, humiliated. All of that was for me, and nobody else could do it but
him. Over the last couple of months, this one verse in Luke where they were mocking him, and
they said he saved others why can’t he save himself. Remember that? The thief on the cross
said it to him, one of the thieves.
And I think it was the chief priest said he saved others. Why can’t he save himself. Jesus said nothing to that. We know Jesus could have called down legions of angels and taken him off the cross. But he willingly stayed on the cross because if he would have saved himself, he could not save us. Think about that. He could have defended himself with words to Pilate, but Pilate was like don’t you have any defense? He was silent. He could
have defended himself. Pilate said I don’t find anything wrong with you.
What’s the deal? He said nothing. Can’t you come down off the cross, Jesus. He saved others. Why don’t you save
yourself? He could have said if I come down off of this cross, then you are going to hell. We
would all be going to hell if he saved himself. But he didn’t because he loves us. And so here he
is on the cross being humiliated and being unspeakable things done to him. He’s doing it for
me. I can’t dismiss that. I can rationalize other things that have happened in my life and
different things, but I can’t dismiss that.
The impact that has had on my life for all eternity. A million years from now, you know what we are going to talk about? That. The redemptive work of Christ that he did for all of us on the cross. Five million years from now. That’s what they talk about in heaven in Revelation 4 and 5. They’re talking about that, not everyday life. Not, that was
tough for a couple of years there. They’re not talking about that. They’re talking about that.
And when I think about that and when I have that as my motivation and that’s in my mind, then
you know what? I willingly constrain myself.
The love of God constrains us. He stayed on the cross because he loved us. That’s the reason. For God so loved the world. God so loved your own. Just point to yourself. God loved me so he stayed on the cross to fulfill the plan of
redemption for us. I can never repay him. I can’t rationalize that away. I can’t dismiss it.
Sometimes I get familiar with it. It happens to us just like the cousin who lives in the mountains
and the mountains don’t have the same effect on him. I understand that but this is even
greater. This can have an effect on us for all of eternity.
This is our salvation. This is who God is. His great love for us constrains us and I embrace the narrow way because it’s so easy because of him. We were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver and gold, but we have been
redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. The only way it could have happened was for him
to stay on that cross to the very end and then give up his life for our sake. So when we have
that as our vision, a vision or revelation to us, then everything else becomes easy.
God would say do you think you could read your Bible today with me? God could say that to us. Yes, Lord.
Yes, Lord. Why, of course. Whatever you want Lord. It motivates us. It constrains us. We need
to reflect on that. I said it at the end of the first service that when I go soul winning, your
refreshing when you’re talking to someone about the gospel, you are talking to yourself. I love
that fact of soul winning. You’re starting to talk, and you get excited.
You get excited because you’re talking about the redemptive work of Christ and how it applies to you as well as to them. And you talk about it and talk about it and it becomes in the forefront of your mind and soul.
And it’s amazing. It keeps us. That’s what keeps us from allowing everyday life to kind of water
down our Christianity. Kind of water it down. Yeah, I’m a Christian but I’m kind of own my own
in this thing. You know, these kinds of things. This is what keeps us. This is what keeps us. That
revelation of redemption keeps us in the narrow way. In Jesus’ name.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.